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Budget talks to get underway for 2012

West Fargo City Commissioners will be opening their first round of budget talks Monday, July 18, following their regularly scheduled 5:30 p.m., Commission meeting at West Fargo City Hall.

The 2012 proposed preliminary budget has been initially presented to commissioners with a general fund total of $8,757,736. The total budget is $32,141,261, which represents a 0.30 decrease over last years mill levy.

It is the Commission's intent with the preliminary budget to attempt to hold the mill levy steady and not increase taxes for the citizens of West Fargo.

Other points of the proposed preliminary budget include: a 1 percent cost of living salary increase and a step for eligible employees as rated by evaluations; and a NDPERS 2 percent increase from 9.26 percent to 11.26 percent in retirement benefits and a projected 7.5% increase in health insurance rates.

New staff members are also a part of the proposal with the Police Department requesting an additional Sergeant Position. The dollars budgeted would move a current officer to that position, paving the way for hiring a new Patrol Officer.

Police department equipment requests include three new police vehicles - two Ford utility vehicles for patrol and a Ford Expedition for investigations.

The Public Works Department request for new staffing includes an additional Equipment Operator for the Street Department; and equipment requests include: Street Department, replacing a 1992 Pay Loader and 1981 Snow Blower; Sanitation Department: replacing a 1999 Packer Garbage Truck; and the Sewer and Water Department: replacing a 2005 ¾ ton Pickup, five ½ ton Pickups (2004/2005), a Dump/Plow/Sander, a 1997 Chipper; adding a new ½ ton Pickup to fleet, a Mower/Plow Blade/Sprayer/Sander, and leasing four Motor Graders.

The 2011 value of one mill was $74,012. The projected value of a mill for 2012 is $77,156, a mill value increase of $3,144 per mill over last year.

The preliminary budget will more than likely be approved in early September, with the finalized budget required to be adopted in early October.

All budget meetings are open to the public.